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Cress Heads: For the Green Fingered Nanny or Governess!

Growing up, we were told plants need three things to grow: water, air, and sunlight. While we were also often told plants needed soil to grow, that is not always the case. Plants like cress can flourish even on cotton wool! 

So if you're a nanny taking care of curious charges, you may benefit from growing 'cress heads'. This fuss-free experiment helps to teach young charges how to grow and care for a low-management plant - and then you can eat it in a lovely cheese and cress sandwich!

 

Interesting Facts About Cress

Cress is an undemanding plant. It can germinate even without soil. Most growers use cotton wool to hold the roots. Cress also needs fewer nutrients than other plants, as it doesn’t grow very big. Cress plants can get all the nutrients they need from water and sunlight. 

Cress comes in three types: watercress, garden cress, and nasturtium. And as well as providing a fun science lesson for your charges, cress also serves as a significant ingredient in combatting flu. Cress is packed with high levels of vitamins C, B1, B2, and E. The plant also helps improve a person’s digestion. 

 

How to use cress in meals?

Cress wilts easily, especially when it comes into contact with dressings. It is encouraged to only use it as a garnish for salads, egg dishes, and fish dishes. When using garden cress, nannies should remember to keep it away from heat, which can make it turn bitter. 

Caregivers may add cress in sandwiches or salads. Storing this nutrient-powerhouse in an airtight food container can extend the plant’s freshness for up to two weeks. 

 

How to make a Cress Head?

Cress heads are very easy and fun to make. They use materials that caretakers and their charges can easily find in their homes. Creating a homemade greenhouse to grow cress requires only seven steps. 

Materials you’ll need:

  • Cress seeds
  • Eggs or Yoghurt Pots
  • Kitchen Roll
  • Cotton Wool
  • Paint or other colouring materials
  • A clear plastic bottle
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Boil the eggs for about 12 minutes or until they are hard-boiled. Gently remove the tops and clean the inside of the eggshells. If you’re using yoghurt pots, thoroughly clean the inside of the containers. 
  2. Using paint or other colouring materials, draw a face on the outer part of the shells or pots. Let dry. 
  3. Wet some kitchen roll. Place it in the bottom of the containers. 
  4. Put some wet cotton wool on top of the damp kitchen roll. Make sure to leave some space between the cotton wool and the top of the container.
  5. Put some cress seeds on the cotton wool. Gently press them down. 
  6. Nannies should cut the top off a plastic bottle to make a greenhouse. The bottom half should be used to cover one yoghurt pot or eggshell. This ensures the inside of your homemade greenhouse is kept warm and damp.
  7. Watch the plant grow. When green leaves appear on top of the stalks, that means it can be used in meals. Cut the tops off the stalks and use them as garnishes in meals. You can also store them in an airtight container for 13 days. 

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Looking for other plants you and your charge can plant? Check these out!